By Sage K. Penn
Being a single parent is really hard. My baby is 6 years old, and the weight of him overwhelms me sometimes. I am solely responsible for waking him up in the morning, getting him breakfast, and making sure he washes his face and brushes his teeth. I have to pack a nutritious lunch so he doesn’t get the afternoon sleepies from too many carbs and processed snack foods. Except when my husband gets him ready in the morning (Monday through Friday), I am totally alone.
I make a special effort to drive him to school every morning. Not because his school is on my way to work and it happens to be convenient for me, but because I want to scratch out every moment I can to be with him. As the only caregiver (except my husband) I want to make sure he knows he is important to me. The only days I can’t take him are Wednesday through Friday, so my husband does that. Otherwise, I am exactly like a single mother.[adsanity id=”35664″ align=”aligncenter”/]
As a single (almost) parent who works part-time, I have to keep a tight schedule. It’s hard to find time to go grocery shopping, and get my weekly mani-pedi, and take Princess (our sweet puppy) to the doggie spa for a blow-out and bangs trim, and work in my yoga sessions. But I get it done, because I need to teach my son the value of hard work. There is just no one else to do it (except my husband).
I am a little embarrassed when I take Jonathan to soccer and people see me alone. They probably feel pity for me and a touch of superiority because they are not in my situation. But I soldier on for my baby. He deserves everything that kids with two parents have. It is uncomfortable when people politely ask, “Where is Jonathan’s dad?” (he’s at the concessions stand buying me a diet coke), so I tell them, “I’m not sure. He left a while ago.” Then I walk away. It’s none of their business.[adsanity id=”35667″ align=”aligncenter”/]
Yes, I am exhausted but I try not to complain. No one likes a single mother who won’t shut up about her situation. But sometimes I just need to tell the other moms at my single parenting support group (my husband doesn’t approve of this, but I need it). I need the solidarity of my parenting sisters, because without them I would be completely lost (except for my husband).
One day I mentioned that Jonathan won an award at school for the most creative essay and read it aloud at a special assembly. His essay title was, My Dad is My Best Friend. My mom friends patted my hand and smiled in sympathy. They too get no recognition for being the primary caregiver in their families. I couldn’t go to the reading (my husband did) and I hope Jonathan wasn’t too let down.[adsanity id=”35665″ align=”aligncenter”/]
Instead, I had to prepare dinner (get take-out) and collect Princess from her grooming. She earned an especially sweet jeweled ribbon for her hair. I didn’t tell my mommy friends about that part. But everything else I do is just like being a single parent.
To all the single moms out there, keep your spirits up. You are brave and courageous, and you hold the key to raising the next generation of future citizens. Your child depends on you, and no one else. If I can do it (with my husband), you can do it, too.[adsanity id=”35666″ align=”aligncenter”/]
About the Author
Sage K. Penn has many titles: Mom, Wife, Professor, Writer. When her titles threaten her sanity, she happily adds the title Dr. Vino. She spends her work day teaching students to act like professionals, and spends her life teaching her kids to act like humans. Her work has been published at Scary Mommy and The Mid, and she is a contributor at Sammiches and Psych Meds.